India-UAE to work on IME Economic Corridor protocols in May | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

India-UAE to work on IME Economic Corridor protocols in May

Apr 11, 2024 09:02 AM IST

Close allies India and UAE have begun working on the first stage of the Middle-East trade corridor with protocols allowing consignments fastest clearance.

New Delhi: Notwithstanding the war in Gaza and its fall-out in Middle-East, India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have begun work on the first stage of the pathbreaking India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) with the first senior official meeting expected to take place by May 15.

PM Narendra Modi being received by UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Abu Dhabi airport. (File photo)
PM Narendra Modi being received by UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Abu Dhabi airport. (File photo)

The IMEEC links India, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel with Europe and US through trade and merchandise exports with ports in Europe being the final destination. The IMEEC has full support of the Biden administration and is designed to integrate the markets of these countries.

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After Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the inter-governmental framework agreement on the IMEEC with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on February 14, the two countries have decided to hold the first round of meetings next month to firmly establish the protocols for the first stage of IMEEC. The IMEEC will not only link India with Europe via the Middle-East but also increase the bilateral trade with UAE, which is currently pegged at USD 85 billion and growing by the day.

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It is understood that during the Joint Secretary level meeting with representatives from trade, shipping and commerce ministries the two sides will establish protocols or what has been called virtual trade corridors so that goods containers once cleared at Indian port of Mundra are not reopened at either UAE’s Fujairah port and allowed to proceeds to the final destinations in Europe or America. The meeting which was scheduled for April 25 in UAE had to be postponed due to prior commitments on both sides.

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Even though Saudi Arabia is stuck in Middle-East politics due to Israel on Gaza post October 7 terrorist attack, India and UAE are getting their act together on IMEEC so that the trade corridor between Bharat and Gulf is complete. The IMEEC involves taking the containers via Jordan and Saudi Arabia on railroad to Haifa port in Israel and thereon to southern ports in Europe like Naples and Marseilles.

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The IMEEC will be discussed when US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan pays a visit to India for the iCET meeting with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval later this month. The corridor was conceived by PM Modi and President MBZ with US, Saudi Arabia joining the close ally grouping to add heft.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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